A number of groups are calling on Madonna to cancel her planned performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in protest against the country’s treatment of Palestinians.

Madonna announced this week that she would be performing at the Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv on May 18. She is reportedly set to perform one well known song and one new song.

However, many are calling for Madonna to boycott the event as a part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) initiative. The movement encourages boycotts against Israel over the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Madonna has previously expressed support for Palestinians

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) led calls this week for Madonna to cancel her performance—for which she will reportedly be paid $1 million. They have joined the Jewish Voice for Peace in creating a petition asking the singer to boycott Eurovision.

In an open letter, the group said they hope she will “not undermine our struggle for freedom, justice and equality” by performing at the event.

In a statement released today (April 11) to PinkNews, Alia Malak of PACBI said that Madonna had previously expressed her support for Palestinians. She referenced an Instagram post from 2014 in which Madonna said she “loves” Palestinians and said she wanted “peace and no wall.”

Malak said: “Thousands of artists now publicly support the call from Palestinian artists and cultural organisations for the cultural boycott of Israel. Madonna’s announcement that she will cross Palestinians’ long-established picket line comes at a time when fewer and fewer major international artists are willing to perform to an effectively segregated audience under apartheid.

“We hope Madonna stands on the right side of history by refusing to let her music and image be exploited by a regime that desperately craves the whitewash Eurovision is offering.”

– Alia Malak of the PACBI

“Israeli snipers continue to massacre Palestinians, including children, in besieged Gaza every week, and the far right Israeli government has proudly announced it intends to enforce permanent apartheid and occupation against millions of Palestinians for the foreseeable future.

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“We hope Madonna stands on the right side of history by refusing to let her music and image be exploited by a regime that desperately craves the whitewash Eurovision is offering.”

Calls for Madonna to boycott Eurovision over ‘oppression’ of Palestinians
Neilson Barnard/Getty

Twitter users say: #MadonnaDontGo

There have also been calls for Madonna to boycott the event on Twitter where people are using the hashtag #MadonnaDontGo.

One person said: “Madonna has always been an icon for the oppressed, being an outspoken campaigner for the LGBT community and women’s rights. It’s both baffling and depressing that she’d play a TV event broadcast from a brutal apartheid regime.”

Another tweeted Madonna directly and said: “I’m a Jewish Israeli-American urging you to do the right thing and honor the cultural boycott of apartheid Israel! You have power to help, not hurt, bring justice for all. Don’t whitewash apartheid.”

Somebody else said that if her performance goes ahead, they will be “boycotting Madonna” after being a fan since the 1980s.

In January, more than 60 LGBT+ groups from across Europe urged queer people to boycott Eurovision over the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The call to boycott Eurovision was signed by a number of UK based LGBT+ groups such as UNISON National LGBT Committee, Queer Strike and Queerspace East London.

PinkNews has contacted Madonna’s representative for comment.

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